Nairobi News


Bright girl who studied through harambees pleads for help one more time

February 25th, 2019 3 min read

Various well-wishers have helped Maurine Akoth, a partial orphan, get an education up to university level.

Now the 25-year-old is fundraising one more time; this time to enable her get a Master’s degree in Australia that costs at least Sh4.8 million for a two-year study.

A private school director helped her get primary education at Suna Junior Academy, where she scored 378 marks out of the possible 500 in the 2008 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.

Fund drives, Constituency Development Fund (CDF) bursaries and the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation ensured she finished her secondary studies at the Kenya High School in 2012, coming out with an A-minus.

And when she joined Chuka University in 2013, it was through student bursaries and fund drives that she sailed through, graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics and Statistics in November 2017.

The Higher Education Loans Board, she says, initially rejected her loan application, only releasing it when she was about to clear from university.

Her contemporaries at Chuka University may remember having seen pro-forma cards requesting them to contribute something to help needy Maurine.


She has been a partial orphan since 2001 when her father died, leaving her mother — a farmer — with 10 children to fend for. Maurine is the seventh born.

Now the big question is: Will her go-getting spirit enable her raise at least Sh1 million to enable her secure entry at the University of South Australia?

She first got admitted at the university last year, upon which she asked locals at her Magunga sub-location in Gwassi, Homa Bay County, to assist her meet even the transport costs.

She reckons that the residents did come up in their numbers, partly due to mobilisation by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga. In the end, she says, they raised Sh230,000.

In fact, a number of them think she made it to Australia afterwards.

“I can’t stay at home because those people expect me to be in Australia right now,” she told Nairobi News last week.

But despite the best intentions, she could not secure even a trip to Australia because for her to get a student visa, she has to pay what the University of South Australia calls an acceptance fee, after which it can tell the High Commission in Kenya to allow her to travel there.


She managed to defer the entry to this year, and she says the orientation for the 2019 group runs from February 25 to March 4, and the fear of losing out for the second time is all-too-real.

Asked why she is so determined to go to Australia, she said it is because she wants to expand her world-view.

“I would like to broaden my knowledge; the capacity. I’ve already been in Chuka, and there is something I’ve learnt from there. I would like to learn beyond academics, get experiences, get to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and how they view different situations; how they handle different circumstances. And that will broaden my capacity. It will also be a build-up on my professional profile,” she said.

She added: “I would desire to gain knowledge that will help me come back and maybe get a project that will help in poverty reduction and fighting corruption. That’s what I want to see, right from my village to the whole of Kenya. That has been my dream.”

The chief of Gwassi Central, Mr Alphonce Okore, told Nairobi News that Maurine is “a role model to many youths within the community”.

“She has been educated by the help of the community through fundraising and signed pro-forma; both in high school and college,” the chief added.


Having been assisted by so many people, she feels compelled to pay back in a grand way.

“I would love to be a big person when I return to Kenya. I want to get the knowledge, then come impact my own country,” she said.

At the university Down Under, she plans to study professional accounting.

“I did accounting as several units in my degree process. But I have never done CPA or any other accounting courses offered within the country. I had it in mind to do it at Master’s level,” she says.

The university’s fee structure seen by Nairobi News indicates that the total tuition fees required for the two-year Master’s course is 34,100 Australian dollars, which is Sh4.9 million.

And for her to be permitted into the institution, which has waived 25 per cent of her fees as a scholarship, she has to pay AU$14,140, which is slightly over Sh1 million.

A very prayerful woman who spent a better part of last week on a “prayer mountain”, Maurine pleads with Kenyans to help her realise her dream.
Her phone number is 0704911474.